BEST TIMBERWOLVES PLAYER - 2005
Last year, as a few readers will surely recall, we bestowed this award on Ndudu Ebi. But given that the young Nigerian played in a mere two NBA games, we'll have to herald another straight-outta-high school forward in his stead. We do it regretfully, as Garnett hasn't had much of a year. He only led the NBA in rebounding and efficiency (an equation that evaluates points, assists, steals, blocks, and rebounds against shots missed and turnovers). And he finished in the top 15 for minutes played, points per game, free throws, and a handful of other categories. The notion that this kind of performance could be seen as a bit of a drop-off testifies to KG's astonishing skill set. (It's as if the team's scouts and management, back in 1994, decided to draft for athleticism, court smarts, skill, and heart--and then congratulated themselves on a job brilliantly done by taking the next 10 years off.) The Wolves--for now and the foreseeable future--are Kevin Garnett and whoever else is on the floor. Next year, the team will surely be shedding some familiar faces--while keeping Ebi around, we hope, to reclaim this award next year.